A Dunedin man caught prowling and taking items from cars intended to sell them for drug money, authorities say.
Joshua Whittle, 30, of New York Avenue in Dunedin, was apprehended with the help of a deputy K9.
Deputies received multiple calls beginning at 5:12 a.m. Sunday from residents in the Lotus Drive, Falcon Road and Sea Spray Lane areas. The residents told deputies they saw a stranger both trying to get inside and taking items from cars that were parked outside, Pinellas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.
The suspect had fled each of the areas by the time deputies arrived on each of the calls, but a K9 deputy was able to track the suspect's backpack, which had been stashed in some bushes on San Christopher Drive.
About the same time, deputies noticed a man who matched the various descriptions given by witnesses walking on San Christopher Drive. The man, identified as Whittle, admitted to owning the backpack containing stolen items: some spare change, a GPS unit and digital camera. He said he had taken the items from the vehicles so he could sell them for prescription medications, Barreda said.
Whittle was arrested on loitering and prowling charges, and also felony charges of burglary of an unoccupied vehicle, and grand theft of under $5,000.
The GPS unit was returned to its owner. The backpack and digital camera was put into evidence, Barreda said.
According to Sheriff's records, Whittle has been jailed five times on similar charges since 2006, and also on charges including traffic in stolen property, felony battery, child abuse and violation of a domestic violence injunction.